Radiation exposure is a concern for everyone involved near and far from the Fukushima nuclear disaster. To understand why radiation exposure is so dangerous we start with just radiation. Radiation is energy that travels in the form of waves or high-speed particles. (more detail below) It occurs naturally in sunlight and sound waves. Man-made radiation is used in X-rays, nuclear weapons, nuclear power plants and cancer treatment. Now that we know what radiation is and how it can occur we understand that it can be normal, natural or help people, however, like anything in life moderation is key.
I have been exposed to the Fukushima radiation, what is happening to me?
If you are exposed to small amounts of radiation over a long time, it raises your risk of cancer. It can also cause mutations in your genes, which you could pass on to any children you have after the exposure. A lot of radiation over a short period, such as from this nuclear disaster, can cause burns or radiation sickness. Symptoms of radiation sickness include nausea, weakness, hair loss, skin burns and reduced organ function. If the exposure is large enough, it can cause premature aging or even death.
You may be able to take medicine to reduce the radioactive material in your body.
Radiation exposure for humans in greater detail:
Radioactive materials that decay spontaneously produce ionizing radiation, which has sufficient energy to strip away electrons from atoms (creating two charged ions) or to break some chemical bonds. Any living tissue in the human body can be damaged by ionizing radiation in a unique manner. The body attempts to repair the damage, but sometimes the damage is of a nature that cannot be repaired or it is too severe or widespread to be repaired. Also mistakes made in the natural repair process can lead to cancerous cells. The most common forms of ionizing radiation are alpha and beta particles, or gamma and X-rays.